Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14024)

Interstate Batteries will sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch for the final two Sprint Cup races of the NASCAR season.

Primary sponsor Mars Inc., exercised its right to abstain from sponsoring the No. 18 car after an on-track incident in the Nov. 4 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth that involved Busch and series regular Ron Hornaday. NASCAR suspended Busch for the remainder of the Texas race weekend, fined him $50,000 and placed him on probation for the remainder of the year.

When Mars pulled out of the last two 2011 races earlier this week, Interstate decided to step in to support Joe Gibbs Racing – a relationship that has lasted 20 years.

Interstate Chairman Norm Miller described the decision this way: “We feel NASCAR took the appropriate action with Kyle, and we think he will become a better person for it. We also understand and honor Mars’ reasons for stepping back for these last two weeks of the season. As founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing, we felt it was the right thing to do to support JGR, Kyle and the No. 18 team during this difficult time.”

Busch, winner of 104 races across NASCAR’s top-three national touring series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck – will make his 14th career Sprint Cup start at this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500k at Phoenix International Raceway and will also compete at next weekend’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch won the 2005 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix.

Interstate Batteries PR

Award-winning Outback Steakhouse, with more than 750 locations nationwide, has formed a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by two-time series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas.

Outback Steakhouse will be the primary sponsor of SHR’s No. 39 team and driver Ryan Newman for two races in 2012, and when not serving as a primary sponsor, will be an associate sponsor with placement on the B-post of the No. 39 Chevrolet Impala. Outback Steakhouse joins the U.S. Army, Quicken Loans and Tornados as primary sponsors of the No. 39 team.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ryan Newman who are recognized for their leadership and performance on and off the track,” said Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer, Outback Steakhouse. “It’s especially meaningful to us to continue Outback’s longstanding commitment to supporting troops and their families by being a sponsor on the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet.”

Since first opening in 1988, Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse has hosted military events and initiatives all over the country and abroad including its Thanks for Giving program, which over the last two years has donated $2 million to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that supports military troops and their families, and its Operation Feeding Freedom initiative that sends teams of Outbackers overseas to feed American troops stationed abroad.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Outback Steakhouse, and I know why it’s been voted the best steak year in and year out,” said Newman, winner of 15 Sprint Cup races, including the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. “They have a quality product that I’m very familiar with and we’re certainly proud to be representing Outback Steakhouse on the racetrack.”

In officially launching the partnership, Outback Steakhouse’s logo, along with a special message to United States Veterans, will be featured on the decklid of Newman’s No. 39 U.S. Army Chevy during this weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. Fittingly, the U.S. Army Chevy carries a special paint scheme during this Veterans Day weekend at Phoenix honoring Army Vietnam Veterans. A collage made up of hundreds of photos of those who served is incorporated into the car’s design.

“We’re honored to have Outback Steakhouse join Stewart-Haas Racing,” added Stewart, who in his three years as a Sprint Cup team owner has qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup each season while scoring 10 of his 43 career Sprint Cup victories, the most recent of which came last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. “The company’s reputation for quality and great service is second to none in the restaurant industry, and it’s a true pleasure to be associated with a company and a product that is admired by so many, including myself. We’re looking forward to doing some great things together on and off the racetrack.”

SHR PR

Gibbs – “Hope convey our feelings this morning in the right way” “The actions last week don’t reflect MARS values” “Have asked Kyle not to race the M&Ms car through the remainder of the season”

Gibbs “MARS will be back in 2012 and we are all set”

Gibbs: “There will be other financial penalties and stuff as we go forth in the process”

“I want to support Kyle and I hope this will impact him as a person” “ Look forward to long relationship”

Busch: I want to apologize and blame myself for this

Busch: "There's an opportunity for me to become a better person, to learn, to grow from this, and I am looking forward to that."

Busch: My future I want to be with JGR and in NASCAR

Gibbs: No comments on if MARS will get a refund or if Kyle’s compensation will be reduced in order to compensate MARS

Busch: I’ve had conversations with Hornaday and called him. Called within a day or 2 of the incident. Conversation ended well

Busch: I have those on the race track I can race around and trust me and others not so much. But we know who they are

Busch: The best thing about twitter you can turn it off

Gibbs: On the Z-line deal I take responsibility. I wanted to move forward on this. It was more of a race team deal then on Kyle.

Busch: Yeah there have been a lot of upset people and that’s to be understood for my actions.

Busch: Was there a point when I thought I didn’t have a ride yeah there was. Did Joe ever say hey you about to lose your ride.. No.

Busch: I wasn’t surprised at NASCARs actions. It was a decision they needed to make and I respect that. Do I feel there is a fine line. No.

Busch: It’s not in my best interest to be on Twitter reading everything. But I do appreciate my fans and their support.

Gibbs: Pride ourselves on images.

On Aric there were so many things going on over the weekend. We were trying to anticipate in case something else happened. But it never became a possibility.

Since President Woodrow Wilson signed it into being in 1919, our nation has set aside the 11th day of November as a time to honor American military veterans.

It seemed particularly fitting this year that Veterans Day – originally known as Armistice Day – fell on 11/11/11. The number 1, after all, represents the highest level of service and achievement, and the men and women of our Armed Forces are unquestionably worth of that place of honor. To be Number One is to be the best; they literally are our heroes.

Heroes of a different sort will hit the racetrack for the final time in 2011 on November 20, for the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. At the end of that day, after a hard-fought battle spanning 10 months and the length and breadth of an entire country, a single warrior will remain to carry the NASCAR champion’s standard for the next year. For the first time in recent memory, his name will most likely not be Jimmie Johnson.

What defines a hero? They are a rare and unusual breed. Heroism is more than simply performing an act of bravery or courage under duress; heroes cross boundary lines and are present in, and on, every field imaginable. They are soldiers and scientists, innovators and athletes. Sometimes flamboyant and at other times relatively unknown, they are living examples that hard work and dedication pays off, that success is possible, and that dreams can come true.

Jimmie Johnson, a truly deserving and highly-respected racing hero, celebrated the first of his five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships in 2006. Although he was just 31 years old at the time, he admits that he was already beginning to feel his window of opportunity might be closing.

"I had the weight of the world on my shoulders in 2006. We were so close to winning in ’04 and ’05 and came up short," he said in an interview with SPEED after the November 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway. "I was really in this space of thinking, ‘I’ve just missed two good opportunities; I can’t let this third one slip by. And if I do, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity again to win a championship.’"

Johnson achieved a level of success perhaps even beyond his own wildest dreams, but it was not served up to him on the proverbial silver spoon. The son of a heavy machine operator and a school bus driver, his childhood lifestyle was comfortable, but not lavish. "People have this perception that I was raised in a wealthy family and had all this stuff handed to me, but it’s just the opposite," he said.

Johnson may not have been blessed with an unlimited bank account to fund his efforts, but he had something perhaps even more valuable to back them up. He had the attributes of a champion.

Champions want to win and refuse to settle for anything less. They are hungry, and no matter how much is piled onto their plate, they never seem to be satisfied. The actor Burt Lancaster is quoted as once saying, "Take the feeling of hunger out of your gut, and you’re no longer a champion."

Jimmie Johnson agrees. "I will absolutely be disappointed if we don’t win it this year. I’m still in the middle of my career, and it’s tough to reflect on the past. I’m still competing and focused on winning … I don’t want to see the streak come to an end," he said.

Champions set goals, focus on those goals, and do not quit until they have reached them. "My heart and soul has been in racing since I was 5 years old and racing dirt bikes. I made decisions to not go to school, to pursue this career path and not others. I packed up and left San Diego, my family, my friends, everything that I was familiar with, to pursue this dream at a young age," Johnson said.

"There were some moments when I wanted to be a kid and wondered about what I was missing, but it felt so good to go off and pursue something I cared so much about, and it’s still there today. That fire’s still there today."

When the going gets tough, champions don’t point fingers. They take responsibility. "I feel that the progress we made from the start of the season on the racetrack and on pit road to get ready for the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) is to be commended. We made a ton of progress. But in the final races we haven’t finished like we needed to in order to contend for a championship," Johnson said. "It’s easy to place blame in different directions – and I’m pointing the finger at myself – but we’re a team and we’re going to win and lose as a team, regardless of what happens."

His No. 48 Chevrolet doesn’t sport the paint scheme of the U.S. Army or the National Guard. But it seems appropriate, as our military heroes dominate our thoughts this week and stock car racing prepares to crown a new Number One in a matter of days, to take a moment to celebrate the contributions of a five-time championship veteran who has served his sport and its fans honorably and well.

This year, Jimmie Johnson may not be the winner, but in every way that counts, he will always be a champion.

FAS Lane Racing is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Gainey Suites Hotel once again for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend.  Just like it was for the spring race, the Scottsdale area hotel will be home for the FAS Lane Racing team while being featured on the No. 32 Ford driven by veteran driver Mike Bliss in the running of the Kobalt Tools 500.

“We really value our partnership with the Gainey Suites Hotel and appreciate all of their support,” stated FAS Lane Racing team owner Frank Stoddard. “The hotel is one of the nicest we get to stay at all year and the staff just welcomes us like no others.  In the spring all of us at FAS Lane Racing enjoyed hosting the Gainey Suites Hotel guests at the race and we look forward to doing so again this weekend.”

FAS Lane Racing currently sits 34th in the ever important NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owners points.   The team will also feature primary sponsorship this weekend from Veterans United Home Loans and Hire Heroes USA as they pay tribute to the unemployed Veterans across the country.

“What a really cool weekend this will be in Phoenix,” said Stoddard.  “This is a fantastic program with Veterans United and continuing our partnership with the Gainey Suites Hotel.  We look forward to honoring Veterans Day this weekend with our great partners and to showcase them on a national platform.”

“Our entire Gainey Suites Hotel family is really excited to have all the FAS Lane Racing folks back with us again,” added Rich Newman, General Manager for Gainey Suites Hotel.  “We are delighted to be associated with their efforts in conjunction with Veterans United, to honor and assist our country’s true heroes, the selfless veterans, on this very special weekend of appreciation for all they have done.”

Integrity Sports Marketing PR

Mars, Incorporated announced today that they will be removing Kyle Busch from driving the M&M’S® car for the remaining two races of the 2011 NASCAR season as a result of the incident during last Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The car will not run with the M&M’S® paint scheme until 2012, at which time Kyle Busch will be the driver with the expectation that no future incident take place.

“As a proud member of the racing community, Mars and the M&M’S® brand strongly support the partnership we have with Joe Gibbs Racing and are committed to NASCAR. Yet, Kyle’s recent actions are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of Mars,” said Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer, Mars Chocolate North America. “While we do not condone Kyle’s recent actions, we do believe that he has shown remorse and has expressed a desire to change. We believe our decision will have a positive impact on Kyle and will help him return next season ready to win.”

“We strongly support Mars’ decision,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “This gives us all time to work together to foster a positive change where Kyle can continue racing in a way we can all be proud of.”

Mars PR
STATEMENT FROM JOE GIBBS RACING
Interstate Batteries, a partner of Joe Gibbs Racing since the team's inception 20 years ago, will be featured on the #18 Toyota Camry driven by Busch for the final two races of the Sprint Cup Series season. A press conference with Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs and driver Kyle Busch will be held in the media center of Phoenix International Raceway on Friday at 9:30 a.m. MST to further address this situation.
JGR PR

A newly repaved and reconfigured one-mile Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) will be an unknown to Bobby Labonte and his fellow competitors leading up to the Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday.

“I liked the track a lot before and I’m not really sure what it is going to be like with the new asphalt,” said Labonte, who will have the Wounded Warrior Project front and center on JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Toyota Camry for a second week in a row thanks in part to The Clorox Company. “I feel good about our test there and we learned a lot. We were pretty good without making a qualifying run compared to the guys that made qualifying runs.”

With a positive outlook on this weekend, Labonte aims to add to his three top-five, nine top-10 finishes and pole award he has collected at PIR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“I think we are going to Phoenix with positive attitude,” said Labonte, who finished 21st at PIR earlier this season. “Shorter tracks have been better for us than big tracks. It’s going to be hard to see what the track is going to be like. It’s going to be different than what we tested. It will be a matter of taking Friday to make sure we have the right setup in it.”

As Labonte’s team searches for the formula for a successful weekend, the team also continues to raise awareness about the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Labonte featured the Wounded Warrior Project primary logo on his car for the first time at Texas Motor Speedway as a part of their Believe in Heroes TM campaign (BIH). The two-month BIH campaign honors the sacrifices of those who have answered the call to serve in the ten years that followed the events of Sept 11th through a series of special events and initiatives around the country.

“Believe in Heroes TM is giving Americans an opportunity to give back to the people who have served our country,” Labonte said. “To find out more about Wounded Warrior Project’s Believe in Heroes campaign, fans can visit www.believeinheroes.org.”

Fans can also make a donation to Wounded Warrior Project by simply dial **HERO, which is **4376 on a mobile phone to donate $10.

The WWP is one of a few things Labonte is spreading the word about this week. Being a Coca-Cola Racing Family Driver, Labonte is helping Coca-Cola with an important initiative. Polar Bears have been a big part of the Coca-Cola brand for decades. Now, Coke and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are partnering in a campaign to help protect the polar bears’ Arctic home. This Holiday season, Coke is turning its iconic red cans white to help raise awareness and funds for polar bear conservation efforts.

As Coke turns their cans white, Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing have turned the roof of their car white to signify their support. Fans can get in on the action by using Coke package codes to text a personal $1 donation to WWF or by donating online at ArcticHome.com. For every fan that donates, Coke will match it up to $1 million. Fans can visit ArcticHome.com for more information and to learn more about the polar bear and its habitat.

“We’re 100% behind Coca-Cola’s efforts to save the Arctic Home of endangered polar bears and it’s cool we’re running a white roof to help draw attention on how fans can help conserve the polar bear’s home ,” Labonte said. “To find out how you can help, visit www.ArticHome.com.”

JTG PR

There were 1,854 races during NASCAR’s first 50 years of existence, but it’s a good bet that none of them was filled with more intriguing storylines than the season-ending Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Nov. 15, 1992.

For starters, the greatest career in NASCAR history was coming to a close as Richard Petty, winner of a record 200 series races and seven championships, decided he would no longer compete after 35 years in the sport.

It also marked the debut of an up-and-coming young driver named Jeff Gordon, who had been signed by car owner Rick Hendrick and was all of 21 years old.

But the headliner was undoubtedly the three-way championship battle between Ford drivers Bill Elliott, Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison. Allison held a marginal point lead going into the race and was trying to join his father, Bobby, as one of only two father-son duos to win NASCAR’s top series title while Elliott was looking to bounce back after seeing a big lead late in the year disappear and capture his second crown.

Then there was Kulwicki, who was bucking all NASCAR odds as an owner/driver with a small but dedicated crew and limited resources. He found himself second in the standings going into the finale, trailing Allison by only 30 points and 10 points ahead of Elliott, who was in third. Despite trailing Elliott by a seemingly insurmountable 278 points after Dover, he had put himself in position to win the title by posting three top-five finishes while Elliott came back to the pack, in part, due to mechanical issues.

“Davey Allison needed to only finish fifth in that race to claim the championship. That’s all he needed to do,” recalled veteran motorsports writer Steve Waid. “He was running fifth about 254 laps in when he got in a wreck with Ernie Irvan. Ernie swerved in front of him and Davey couldn’t avoid him. Davey wrecked and was out of the race. Now the championship was down to Elliott and Kulwicki.”

At that point, the legend that eventually became Alan Kulwicki was born. He and his team figured out that if they led the most laps, they could win the championship by finishing second. That’s when he began stretching his fuel, going 11 laps further during one run as the leader to clinch leading the most circuits and essentially forcing Elliott to win the race and hope Kulwicki finished third or worse.

“He was without a doubt the most unique driver that NASCAR had ever seen. First of all, he was a college-educated engineer. He was a perfectionist,” recalled Waid. “He always considered himself the underdog, so he took off the ‘TH’ on the front of his car so it said “Underbird.” He knew what he was up against, so to go out there with the odds stacked against him like they were, and then the most amazing thing was calculating to the very lap how many laps he had to lead in order to win the championship.”

Elliott did all he could as he assumed the race lead and went on to win, but Kulwicki finished second and claimed the title by 10 points, which, at the time, was the closest margin in NASCAR history. In the end, the difference was one lap. Kulwicki led 103 laps compared to Elliott’s 102, meaning those five bonus points determined the championship. If they had tied, the title would have gone to Elliott by virtue of him winning more races (five) than Kulwicki (two).

“When we came into Atlanta, by that time, we had given away too many points. The guy that had it to lose was Davey, and I guess they ended up wrecking pretty early in the race, and then Alan had it to lose. All I had to do was win,” said Elliott. “I mean, to me, that’s the way we pretty much looked at it. We did everything we could right. We went down there. We won the race. We did everything we could do at that point in time. I felt like we gave it our all and we came up short. But, there again, we didn’t have it to lose, we had it to win.”

Tom Roberts had one of the best seats in the house to watch the drama unfold. As the public relations representative for Kulwicki, he monitored the entire race on his radio from the team’s pit box.

“There were so many ups and downs. Davey Allison was in that crash, and then the way things were calculated as far as leading that one more lap, there will never be another race like that,” said Roberts. “I always had that comforting sense to know you had that mastermind who was behind the wheel. You could have the greatest crew chief on the face of the Earth, but you always had that little edge in the fact that you had his mind that was driving the race car.”

The irony to Kulwicki beating Elliott for the championship is that just a few months earlier they were both tied to car owner Junior Johnson, who was looking for a driver to replace Geoff Bodine. He went after Kulwicki, who turned him down, before signing Elliott.

“I was one of the most vocal ones to sort of call Alan Kulwicki dumb for not signing up with Junior Johnson, who probably had one of the best rides in NASCAR,” recalled Michael Kranefuss, who was the director of Ford Racing at that time. “He said, ‘No, Michael. I really think I can do it better myself.’ That was Alan, and I was wrong. The way he won the championship is evidence of the way he approached the whole thing. He did not sit and complain that he only had five sets of springs when top teams had 25 sets. He just made do and he found the right people to support it.”

That dynamic made victory lane all the more interesting as both drivers ended up there – Elliott for winning the race and Kulwicki for taking the championship.

“They embraced and they congratulated each other,” recalled Roberts. “It’s nothing personal against Bill. I still think the world of Bill Elliott and always will, but the fact it was the car owner, it was Junior Johnson who had tried to get him to drive for him, it only added to the feeling of, ‘Wow, this really is an accomplishment.’”

The championship was the fifth in NASCAR Sprint Cup history for Ford Racing, but the happiness of that day was quickly erased when Kulwicki was killed in a plane crash four months later.

“The only sad thing about Alan is at the end of the day he didn’t have time to enjoy it. Who knew that he only had months to live after that happened that particular day,” reflected Elliott. “I’m glad he won the championship, but, there again, I look back and I felt like at the point in time I did everything I could do that particular day and it ended up the way it ended up. We don’t know why it ended up that way, but, at the end of the day, maybe we do.”

Roush Fenway Racing moves into this week’s showdown in the desert of Phoenix, looking to maintain its point leads in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series and become the first time to ever win NASCAR’s two most prized trophies in the same season. In addition, the team is also closing in on its historic 300th victory, needing just one win in the 'Valley of the Sun' to hit the high-mark of NASCAR elite.

Roush Fenway launched its NASCAR operation via Liberty, N.C., in 1988 and scored its landmark first victory in the fall of 1989 at Rockingham Speedway. Along the way there have been numerous milestone wins as the team approaches 300, including the 100th NASCAR win scored in dominating fashion at Las Vegas in 2000.

Roush Fenway Racing dominated Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the drop of the green flag at the track in 1998; winning the first three Sprint Cup races and two of the first three Nationwide Series races. So it came as little surprise when Roush Fenway led 145 of 200 laps with Jeff Burton besting Mark Martin in an RFR one-two finish for Roush Fenway’s 100th victory on March 4, 2000. Ironically Roush Fenway would score win number 101 the following day in the Sprint Cup event, with the ‘dynamic’ duo leading 89 of 148 laps and Burton pulling the sweep for the victory and the Winston No Bull Million dollar bonus.

Roush Fenway’s 299 wins have been accomplished over a performance driven 24 seasons, across all three of NASCAR three major divisions and will 17 different drivers. Currently Roush Fenway has 125 Sprint Cup wins, 124 Nationwide wins and 50 wins in NASCAR’s Truck Series.

Roush Fenway Milestone Wins

1st - Mark Martin – Rockingham, Cup, 10-22-89

25th – Mark Martin – Talladega, Cup, 4-30-95

50th – Joe Ruttman – Heartland Park, Trucks, 7-27-97

75th – Mark Martin – Rockingham, Cup, 2-21-99

100th – Jeff Burton – Las Vegas, NNS, 3-4-00

125th – Jeff Burton – Charlotte, Cup, 5-27-01

150th – Matt Kenseth – Phoenix, Cup, 11-10-02

175th – Carl Edwards – Bristol, Trucks, 8-25-04

200th – Carl Edwards – Texas, Cup, 11-6-05

225th – Carl Edwards – Bristol, NNS, 3-25-07

250th – Carl Edwards – Michigan, Cup, 8-17-08

275th – Carl Edwards – Road America, NNS, 6-19-10

299th – Trevor Bayne – Phoenix, NNS, 11-5-11

Roush Fenway All-Time NASCAR Winners:

Trevor Bayne

Matt Kenseth

Kurt Busch

Greg Biffle

Carl Edwards

David Ragan

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Mark Martin

Jeff Burton

Jamie McMurray

Joe Ruttman

Mike Bliss

Jon Wood

Ricky Craven

Erik Darnell

Travis Kvapil

Colin Braun

Roush Fenway Racing PR

For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team, the Nov. 13 race at Phoenix International Raceway will be "Mining Day at the Races," with more than 200 Caterpillar Inc. mining customers and dealers in attendance.

Designed to appear as though it's mining gold, copper and silver, Burton's No. 31 Chevrolet will be a tribute to the mining industry, carrying a special paint scheme to honor the new theme for the Caterpillar Global Mining organization: "Wherever There's Mining." With its recent acquisition of Bucyrus International, Inc., Caterpillar now offers more mining equipment than any other manufacturer in the world.

"Mined materials are found in virtually everything we use in our everyday lives - like steel, glass, concrete, oil, plastics and electricity," says Chris Curfman, President of the Caterpillar Global Mining Sales & Support Division. "Without them we couldn't build machines, transport goods, or heat and cool our homes."

A growing population and drive for modernization and urbanization are increasing the demand for minerals - making mining more important than at any other time in history. "Caterpillar has long been a supporter of this critical industry," says Curfman. "And our expanded product line gives us more than 100 new pieces of equipment to better serve our customers in this booming market."

Caterpillar customers are traveling from around the world to attend the race at Phoenix International Raceway, some from as far away as China, Latin America and Australia. For many it is their first time attending a NASCAR event.

"We're excited that our affiliation with NASCAR gives us an opportunity to do something unique to recognize our mining customers and dealers," says Tony Johnson, Marketing Manager.

Many of the customers in attendance will be hosted by Cat dealers. The global Cat dealer network is a one-of-a-kind distribution and support system that is a key differentiator for Caterpillar.

"Our dealers are our face to the customer and our partners in providing the products and services they need to mine safely and efficiently," says Phil Kelliher, Mining General Manager with responsibility for North America.

RCR PR

Charlie Krauch’s focus will be on his garage duties with Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith this Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. But Veteran’s Day, comrades past and – especially – those currently in service to the nation won’t be far from the mind of the U.S. Army Vietnam War soldier.

Krauch, the Denver-based team’s director of transportation, served as a Specialist Fourth Class with the U.S. Army from 1971-73 maintaining heavy equipment at bases near Hue and later at Da Nang.

His unit was the last to leave his first base as the American presence wore down. Krauch then was a passenger on the final Freedom Flight out of Da Nang.

“My thoughts are with the soldiers in there now,” said Krauch, who is proud of how America is thanking its post-9/11 service members. “But all (who have served) should be acknowledged for what they’ve done. We know what the active ones are going through. We need to take care of all these people (but) the guys in the past need to be recognized as well.”

Krauch, 59, a native of Hamburg, Pa. now living in Greeley, Colo., is grateful for the positive experiences his military service provided. “It was a job that few people wanted to do but we did it,” he said of serving in Vietnam. “Learning a sense of authority was a real eye-opener, how to take (and execute) orders at a young age.

“The whole experience taught me how good we have it here and how to take care of yourself and other people.”

A number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will recognize Veteran’s Day with special paint schemes and other activities related to service members during Phoenix International Raceway’s Kobalt Tools 500 weekend.

The Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 39 Chevrolet of Ryan Newman will be adorned with 350 faces of U.S. Army Vietnam War veterans as part of the U.S. Army’s sponsorship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 Ford of J.J. Yeley will carry a patriotic paint scheme designed by disabled U.S. Marine Scott Bates of Muscogee, Okla.

The No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Racing Toyota of Bobby Labonte is recognizing the Wounded Warrior Project while the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Clint Bowyer will spotlight sponsor General Mills/Cheerios’ commitment to aid the USO. The team also is hosting military families from nearby Luke Air Force Base.

No doubt about it; after owner, driver and crew chief, Krauch is the most important member of the Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet team.

What makes that so? Furniture Row is the only fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup team headquartered outside the Carolinas. With the majority of the races held a thousand or more miles from the team’s Denver shop, it’s imperative every piece and part is accounted for and available.

Not to mention stripped, cleaned and replaced on a schedule that leaves little or no time for error.

“We’re doing double the miles they do,” said Krauch, who supervises the team’s three-hauler-driver rotation. Talking on a Monday afternoon from the shop, he said, “We just got back an hour ago and we have to leave by Tuesday night. Our turnarounds are a lot shorter.”

Krauch didn’t come to the team as a logistics specialist. But the need was there and he’d managed people before – most recently five years ago for Art Castings of Colorado, a firm that crafted and completed a number of monuments including the Vietnam Nurses Memorial in Washington D.C. and the Buffalo Soldiers site at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

“I had hands-on experience dealing with (45) artists; people that think a bit differently than everybody else,” said Krauch, who found it a smooth transition to a NASCAR team whose members are artists as well – just of a different sort.

On race weekends, Krauch wears a number of hats, typical of a one-car team whose members are expected to perform multiple duties. He and his truck drivers are responsible for setting up equipment and observation decks. During the race itself Krauch will haul gas cans back and forth to the Sunoco fuel station as well as handling the transport of tires to and from the Goodyear Tire Station inside the garage.

He also conducts pit tours for Furniture Row guests and prospective sponsors. “I try to explain everything in layman’s terms and try not to get too technical,” he said. “There’s a lot of information to absorb and most of the people on the tours have no clue as to what happens” behind the scenes.

NASCAR PR